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The Denver Broncos' season is just one-game old, but fans are certain to start complaining about the team's play. Most of it is rightly justified for now.
After dropping their previous eight season openers, the Oakland Raiders used a trip to Denver to snap that streak. Even though the Broncos kept it close at the end, the Raiders came away with the 23-20 victory. It was a sloppy game all around with 25 forced penalties. But what it came down to was Sebastian Janikowski's record-tying 63 yard field goal that ended the first half.
The Broncos were able to add 17 points on the scoreboard in the second half of the game, but Jason Campbell's six-yard touchdown deflated the Broncos' chances. Thrown in Kyle Orton's fumble on a promising drive and the team leaving points on the field by settling for field goals, the Broncos didn't have much of a chance, really.
Despite shoddy play all around on Monday night, the Denver Broncos are just down by three points with just over three minutes left in the clock. Lance Ball found the end zone on a nine-yard pass by Lance Ball to make the score 23-20.
Kyle Orton started at his own 20, and like most of the other drives, was greatly aided by careless penalties by the Oakland Raiders. Still, Orton was able to find his receivers from Eric Decker to Matt Willis to Willis McGahee. Brandon Lloyd was out with what might be a hamstring injury.
However, the defense needs to keep its composure and come up with a big stop to keep the Broncos in this game.
Just mere seconds after Kyle Orton connected with Eric Decker for a 23-yard reception, the Denver Broncos looked ready to put another score on the play. That is, before Orton dropped back into the pocket, geared up for a throw and then lost control of the ball before he could bring his arm up. There was no defender on top of him; it was just an inexplicable fumble. Had Orton retained possession of the ball, he might have been able to find a wide open Daniel Fells for the touchdown.
Instead, the Raiders turned that fumble into a score for the 23-13 lead. Darren McFadden had the huge 47-yard run to bring the Raiders to the Broncos' one-yard line. Champ Bailey came up with the big touchdown-saving tackle, but Jason Campbell punched it in on a one-yard run one play later.
The Denver Broncos are chipping away at the Oakland Raiders' lead, which now is at 16-13. Matt Prater kicked a 30-yard field goal with less than two minutes left in the third quarter. However, the Broncos continue to leave points on the field with these kicks.
The Raiders came up with several stupid penalties on the drive, allowing the Broncos get deep into Oakland territory. Kyle Orton had a huge 24-yard pass to Knowshon Moreno, but the drive stalled after that. On 3rd-and-7, Richard Seymour sacked Orton for a loss of seven yards.
There have been 20 penalties for a total of 171 yards, 100 of that is on the Raiders. With one quarter left, a penalties record is likely to be broken.
Shane Lechler punted from his own 33-yard line, which Decker fielder at his own 10 yard line. He broke through tackles on his way through Broncos territory and finally found a seam on the sidelines. With only Lechler in his way, Decker flew into Oakland territory and had the touchdown.
Decker leaped into the stands and then gave the Mile High Salute. But even with all this excitement, we still need to see the Broncos improve when the offense is on the field. The defense, though, is starting off strong.
Denver Broncos head coach John Fox is not having the start he would have liked, losing to the Oakland Raiders at halftime, 16-3. Late in the second quarter, Raiders safety Matt Giordano read Kyle Orton all the way and picked off a pass intended for Brandon Lloyd. Giordano went out of bounds with the ball at his own 24-yard line.
The Raiders turned that into a field goal for the 16-3 lead at halftime. However, it wasn't any ordinary field goal. Sebastian Janikowski tied NFL history with a 63-yard field goal. Tom Dempsey and former Broncos kicker Jason Elam also own a share of that record.
Despite the interception, Kyle Orton hasn't played as bad as his offensive line has. Center J.D. Walton and guard Zane Beadles are being outplayed. Though it should be noted that Orton is relying too much on Brandon Lloyd. Eddie Royal and Eric Decker do not have any catches. Orton is also the leading rusher with 13 yards. Knowshon Moreno has four yards on five carries and Willis McGahee has zero on two rushes.
Penalties have beset this game. Each team has eight.
The Denver Broncos don't look all that much improved from last season's lousy performances. It's still early, but we're seeing the Broncos shy away from the running game and throwing on each down. On this lastest drive, which resulted in a Matt Prater missing a 56-yard field goal, the offense was frustrated by penalties and also rewarded by them.
Rookie tight end Julius Thomas has a 12-yard gain, but a holding call on center J.D. Walton brought it back. But two penalties and two receptions by Brandon Lloyd put the Broncos in Raiders territory. However, Kyle Orton missed on three straight passes to Eddie Royal, Eric Decker and Lloyd. Prater then sliced the field goal attempt, keeping the score at 10-3 in favor of the Raiders.
Willis McGahee had a loss of three yards on the first play of the drive and then there were no more runs after that. Denver has just 17 rushing yards.
If one believes in omens then things don't bode well for the Denver Broncos. On the first play from scrimmage after Oakland's touchdown, Knowshon Moreno fumbled the ball and it started to pour. The play was initially ruled down by contact and Denver's ball, but Hue Jackson challenged the call and picked up his first correct challenge.
The Denver defense stopped Oakland from getting a first down, especially on third down when Brian Dawkins came up with a huge hit. But Sebastian Janikowski nailed a 37-yard field goal. The Raiders now lead, 10-3.
As the rain continues to pour, the Broncos have control off the ball again and need to get a score here. Rain or no, the Broncos need to avoid last season's issues.
Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden is picking up right where he left off last time he was in Denver: running wild against the Denver Broncos. The Raiders took a 7-3 lead over the Broncos on the strength of McFadden's legs. He had a 20-yard rush to put the Raiders at the Broncos' 25-yard line. A few plays later, Jason Campbell found himself with a 3rd-and-6 and a wide open rushing lane. He picked up the first down, which was followed by a touchdown pass to Marcel Reece.
The Raiders had a short field to play with when that drive began. Daryl Blackstock had blocked Britton Colquitt's punt attempt. The Raiders have 59 rushing yards to the Broncos' one.
Denver Broncos defensive end Elvis Dumervil has hurt his shoulder and is questionable to return in this game against the Oakland Raiders.
The Denver Broncos won the coin toss and elected to receive the ball. It didn't pay off as the Oakland Raiders forced the Broncos to punt. But on Oakland's first play from scrimmage, rookie Von Miller forced a fumble on Jacoby Ford. Rookie safety Rahim Moore recovered the ball. The Broncos, though, settled for a Matt Prater 28-yard field goal for the 3-0 lead.
The Broncos' first drive started with Knowshon Moreno rushing for a gain of one yard, which was followed with a 15-yard pass to fullback Spencer Larsen. Last year's receiving yard leader Brandon Llloyd went in motion on the next play and had an inside slant for an 11-yard gain. Knowshon Moreno struggled on the drive, having rushing plays of one yard and a loss of six. Larsen failed to properly block on the play. On 3rd-and-15, Kyle Orton completed a 12-yard pass to running back Knowshon Moreno, forcing the Broncos to punt.
The Denver Broncos announced their inactives for Monday's game with the Oakland Raiders. Defensive tackles Marcus Thomas and Ty Warren, wide receiver Demaryius Thomas and linebacker D.J. Williams were declared out before the game, but they are now officially inactive.
Surprisingly, defensive end Derrick Harvey, signed as a free agent in August, has been declared out for this game. Jason Hunter will receive plenty of playing time as a result. Reserve center Manny Ramirez is out and so is offensive lineman Tony Hills, who was picked up from the Steelers last week.
To say the Denver Broncos had a poor defense in 2010 is an understatement. It had its worst showing against the Oakland Raiders at home in a 59-14 loss. Darren McFadden destroyed the Broncos on the ground for 165 yards and three touchdowns. The entire rushing attack totaled 328 yards and five touchdowns.
Head coach John Fox returns the Broncos to a 4-3 defense with Dennis Allen as his defensive coordinator. What should we be looking for when the Broncos are on defense?
1. Can the defense stop the run?
Fox decided to fix the defensive line not through the draft but in free agency and trade. He brought in Ty Warren from the Patriots and Brodrick Bunkley from the Eagles in a trade. Marcus Thomas re-signed with the team. Now, only Bunkley is scheduled to play in the season opener, the other two being declared out. Ryan McBean and Mitch Unrein are the backups. Darren McFadden provides an early test.
2. Von Doom and Robert Ayers
The Broncos had trouble rushing the passer last season, having a league-low of 23. Losing Elvis Dumervil for the season hurt that, but he is back this season and playing on the defensive line. He'll play with No. 2 overall pick Von Miller, who showed a skill to get to the quarterback during the preseason. And can third-year player Robert Ayers finally impact the defense?
3. Is the secondary up to the task?
Champ Bailey, Andre Goodman and Brian Dawkins are all back in the secondary, but they are aging. Did Dawkins just have a bad season or is his time almost up? Rookie safety Rahim Moore is the other starting safety and has already put receivers on notice with his play. But behind them, there's concern. Cassius Vaughn, Jonathan Wilhite and rookie Quinton Carter are all there, but are they good enough when the time arises for them to play?
The last time we saw the Oakland Raiders at Mile High, the Denver Broncos were on the wrong end of a 59-14 contest. They took nearly a full two quarters to score their first touchdown and then scored early in the third quarter. Most of the Broncos' offense has stayed the same, but that doesn't mean it things will stay the same.
Here are five things to watch when the Broncos have the ball:
1. How well does Kyle Orton perform?
Orton has been the team's starting quarterback ever since the start of August, when the team was unable to reach a trade with the Miami Dolphins. Meanwhile, Brady Quinn and Tim Tebow were the talk of training camp for their performances, which landed the former the third-string role at points. But they are co-backups to Orton, and there's sure to be substantial discussion on the matter should Orton falter.
2. Is the rushing game back?
Head coach John Fox is bringing the running game back to Denver after two years of Josh McDaniels throwing the ball. The team is sticking with Knowshon Moreno as its starter, but Willis McGahee was brought in to be the goal line back, roles we saw take shape during the preseason. But let's see how the playing time is shared. Moreno struggled and was injured last season, but can he rebound?
3. Will any of the tight ends have an impact?
Last season, tight end was a black hole for the Broncos with Daniel Graham, Richard Quinn and Dan Gronkowski barely involved. All three are gone, replaced by tight ends who are ready to catch the ball. Daniel Fells signed as a free agent and is the starter, but rookies Julius Thomas and Virgil Green are also ready to contribute.
The Denver Broncos and the Oakland Raiders face off on Monday Night Football to start the season. Can the Broncos pay back the Raiders for that 59-14 loss at Mile High last season?
That Demaryius Thomas was back at practice earlier this week was a surprise since he was ahead of schedule coming back from a torn Achilles. But then sitting out practice on Friday was also a surprise. Was it to rest his Achilles? No. As it turned out, Thomas broke his finger on a catch during Thursday's practice. He didn't practice Saturday and certainly won't play on Monday, which was never really a question in the first place.
The rest of the injury report, as the Denver Post reports, is as expected. Defensive Marcus Thomas is still not recovered from his strained pectoral muscle and is unlikely to play on Monday. Linebacker D.J. Williams and defensive tackle Ty Warren won't play due to a dislocated elbow and a torn triceps muscle, respectively.
The Oakland Raiders have already ruled out tight end Kevin Boss, safety Mike Mitchell and receiver Louis Murphy. Receivers Derek Hagan and Chaz Schilens are both probably for the game after fully participating in Saturday's practice.
Just one day after being a full participant in practice, Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas sat out Friday's practice, reports Lindsay Jones of the Denver Post. Head coach John Fox has not spoken with the media on Friday yet, but he will likely update Thomas' condition.
Jones tweeted that she believes this might have been a rest day for Thomas since he is coming off a torn Achilles tendon. Whatever his condition, it is still unlikely that Thomas will be game-ready for Monday's season opener against the Oakland Raiders.
When he does return, Thomas will have plenty of competition to catch balls from Kyle Orton. Brandon Lloyd and Eddie Royal are the top two wide receivers and fellow second-year receiver Eric Decker is coming on strong. Matthew Willis is the other wide receiver on the roster.
The Denver Broncos released their first full injury report prior to Monday's game against the Oakland Raiders. Most of the news was expected. However, there were two status updates on each end of the injury line that provide some surprise. Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas had full participation in Thursday's practice, which shows how much he has improved in his recovery from a torn Achilles. Still, he might not be active for the game.
Defensive tackle Marcus Thomas didn't practice, casting doubt that he will play in Monday's game. He's not fully recovered from a strained pectoral muscle, which has allowed Kevin Vickerson to move back into the starting lineup. Vickerson will play with Brodrick Bunkley, who looks ready to go after a knee injury in the preseason.
Ty Warren and D.J. Williams both have injuries that will keep them out, though Williams' dislocated elbow will only prevent him from playing for a couple of weeks. Warren's triceps injury will keep him out for several months.
Here is a complete Broncos injury report:
|David Bruton||S||Shoulder||Full practice|
|Brodrick Bunkley||DT||Knee||Full practice|
|Quinton Carter||S||Hamstring||Full practice|
|Chris Kuper||G||Toe||Full practice|
|Demaryius Thomas||WR||Achilles||Full practice|
|Matthew Willis||WR||Toe||Full practice|
The Denver Broncos have had issues with injuries at defensive tackle this preseason and that may hurt them come Monday against the Oakland Raiders.
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